1. batura 01/14/10
I find these hypotheses ABOUT HOW LIFE WILL END ON EARTH very entertaining but far short of what's really going to happen. Mankind reached the zenith of his existence back in the 1990's. This coincides with economic growth of all nations and the availability of oil. Oil is the center of our civilization's well being. As the availability of oil decreases so to will the numbers of man decrease. Oil is the only reason why we have the ability to create, support so many human beings on this planet.
Once the oil is gone, and by gone I mean only available in sparse amounts, we will first see starvation, panic followed by mass extinctions in places like Europe, Northern Asia, Canada followed by the same in southern hemisphere. Man will not be fully removed from the planet but he will not be able to multiply like he was from 1870 to 2020.
The truth is we have seen this cycle occur before in history: Greenland, Easter Island, Incas & Mayans to name a few. So these theories are interesting to hear, but do not reflect what will happen to this world.
Keep your eye on the price of oil and gold.
2. parcellular 01/14/10
Is it a surprise to anyone that life propagates by "killing itself off"? Is not self-destruction built into the biology of all lifeforms? In a finite habitat, individual death - of cells or animals - is essential to the development of persons, cultures and races, and the deaths of species are essential to the evolution of the biosphere as a whole. If the terrestrial biosphere is programmed to be self-destructive perhaps this tells us that the proper arena of evolution is a much larger habitat than one little planet. In a cosmic perspective the deaths of individual biospheres may have no more significance than does my own in the context of human life. Extinction may be nature's way of telling us to go forth out of this little gravity well and multiply. Gaia may be just one iteration or avatar of Cosmo-gaia! ;-)